6 of Wisconsin’s nuttiest museums

Jasmine Ferrell

House on the Rock, Spring Green, Wis. – where you probably won't go Crazy.
House on the Rock, Spring Green, Wis. — "Where You Probably Won't Go Crazy"

Starting to feel the impending doom of a merely average summer? Spice it up with these obscure Wisconsin museums, all within a reasonable drive from Eau Claire. Hop into the car with some friends and make a day of it.

1. National Mustard Museum

City: Middleton
Drive Time: 3-ish hours
Cost: Free

If you think Mustard is just something to plop onto your hot dog, you’re wrong. Between the staff renditions of “Roll Out the Mustard,” and the MustardPiece Theater, you’ll find a new respect for this yellow condiment. Web.

2. Chalet of the Golden Fleece

City: New Glarus
Drive Time: 3.5 hours
Cost: Adults ($8)

Home to the worldly collection of Edwin Barlow, this museum displays a jeweled watch once owned by King Louis XVI, Gregorian chants on parchment dating from 1485, and plenty of Swiss related collectables, like a fancy 300-year-old Swiss table. Web.

3. Sci-Fi Café and Earth Mysteries Museum

City: Burlington
Drive Time: 4 hours
Cost: Free

Whether you want to dine in the company of E.T., look at an ancient electroplated gold rock or experience an activated vortex, this small museum and café will satisfy all your paranormal needs. Web.

4. Museum of Historic Torture Devices

City: Wisconsin Dells
Drive Time: 2 hours
Cost: Adults ($7), Children 12 and under ($6)

If the names “Cucking Stool” or “Heretic’s Fork” spark some curiosity in you, this could be your kind of place. As an added bonus, they even started a new presentation of the infamous “Killer Clown,” John Wayne Gacy. Web.

5. International Clown Hall of Fame

City: Baraboo
Drive Time: 2.5 hours
Cost: Adults ($8), Children under 12 ($5)

The Circus World Museum in Baraboo is a well-established attraction, but less than a mile away is this clown sanctuary. Costumes, props and portraits from the most iconic clowns in history adorn these hallowed halls. Web.

6. House on the Rock

City: Spring Green
Drive Time: 3.5 hours
Cost: “For the Ultimate Experience” - Adults ($28.50), Seniors ($26.50), Children 4-17 ($15.50)

One of the most famous roadside attractions in the entire Midwest, and darn near too obvious to list, the House on the Rock is just too bizarre to be ignored. Between the phantom orchestra, the carousel and the Infinity Room, this is so much more than a “house.” Web.

BONUS: The Forevertron

City: Town of Sumpter
Drive Time: 2.5 hours
Cost: Free

Not a museum per se, but definitely a sight worth seeing. Constructed completely from salvaged materials, the 320 ton Forevertron and all the accompanying sculptures are the work of mysterious Dr. Evermor. Web.